Press on Honest Services Fraud & Public Corruption

The Supreme Court’s decision in Skilling v. United States fundamentally altered the landscape of 18 U.S.C. § 1346 honest services fraud prosecutions. Cases and clients at every stage of the criminal adjudication process are affected by the Skilling decision and the uncertain state of law. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice and other organizations are lobbying for a Skilling-fix. NACDL opposes such a fix and any attempts to restore a limitless honest service fraud statute. This page includes programs and press leading up to the Skilling decision.

This page includes press and commentary on honest services fraud and public corruption before, leading up to, and following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Skilling v. United States.

Post-Skilling Press and Commentary

"When is a campaign contribution a bribe?" The Washington Post, August 12, 2012. 

Abbe Lowell: Prosecutors’ bad decisions should have real costs,” The Washington Post, June 21, 2012. [Related article]. 

Edwards Mistrial Puts Sharp Focus On Justice Department,” The BLT: The Blog of LegalTimes, May 31, 2012. [More] 

Legal experts question theory of Edwards case,” Politico, April 25, 2012. [More coverage here and here] 

In Alabama, 2nd Corruption Trial Ends in Acquittals,” The New York Times, March 7, 2012. 

Distinguishing between the ‘public corruption amendment’ and fighting public corruption,”, February 13, 2012. 

STOCK Act’s expansive jurisdiction could lead to abuse of power,” NACDL’s Shana-Tara Regon, The Hill, February 10, 2012. [More commentary] 

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"Stewart and Wayne: Broader DOJ Authority to Prosecute Public Officials is Wrong Priority," Roll Call, November 30, 2011. 

"Bruno Faces Retrial After Panel Vacates Corruption Convictions," New York Law Journal, November 17, 2011. [Opinion and more coverage] 

"Federal Judge Denies John Edwards’ Bid to Dismiss Campaign Case," The Associated Press, October 27, 2011. 

"Judge Sentences Former Lobbyist Kevin Ring to 20 Months," National Law Journal, October 26, 2011. 

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"Lobbyist In Abramoff Scandal Faces 46 to 57 Months In Prison," The Blog of the Legal Times, September 20, 2011. [Read the Court's Sentencing Opinion] 

"Post-Skilling Government Approach – Depends on the Case," White Collar Crime Prof Blog, August 21, 2011. 

"Congress, DOJ Grapple With Revising Corruption Laws," The BLT: The Blog of LegalTimes, July 26, 2011. 

"John Edwards indicted on campaign finance charges," The Washington Post, June 3, 2011. [Indictment and more coverage] 

"11th Circuit Tosses Out Part of Scrushy Conviction," The Associated Press, May 11, 2011. 

 "Sixth Circuit Vacates Honest Services Wire Fraud and False Statement Convictions of Former Tennessee State Senator," White Collar Crime Prof Blog, April 15, 2011. The 6th Circuit decision is available here. 

"U.S. appeals court upholds Jeff Skilling conviction," Reuters, April 6, 2011. The 5th Circuit decision. For more analysis, see Prof. Ellen Podgor's "Commentary on Skilling Remand Decision," April 7, 2011.

"Weyhrauch Mail Fraud Case Finally Dismissed," White Collar Crime Prof Blog, March 15, 2011.

"Conrad Black Won't Be Retried on Honest Services Fraud Charges, U.S. Says," Bloomberg, January 13, 2011.

"Criminal fraud cases survive Skilling decision," The National Law Journal, January 3, 2011. 

Pre-Skilling Press and Commentary

NACDL sponsored programs held leading up to the U.S. Supreme Court's oral argument and decision in Skilling v. United States, including press calls, served as valuable resources for the significant media attention to this important matter, coverage of which yielded hundreds of news stories in the news cycles during and following the arguments. For example, Bloomberg Business Week covered the Skilling case in a March 1, 2010, article, Skilling Seeks New Trial Without ‘Tar and Feathers,’ which cited to comments by NACDL Board Member Timothy P. O’Toole. O’Toole was also a panelist at the December 7, 2009, NACDL/Heritage co-sponsored event on Capitol Hill, and appeared on December 8, 2009, on American Public Media’s public radio program, “Marketplace” on the subject of the Honest Services Fraud cases argued before the Supreme Court that day (“SC could scale back anti-corruption law”). Barry Pollack, Co-Chair At Large of NACDL’s White Collar Crime Section, got the last word in Enron’s hometown coverage in the Houston Chronicle, Did Skilling Get a Fair Shake Here?  

In a McClatchy story, appearing in papers from Seattle to Miami, NACDL’s White Collar Crime Policy Director Shana-Tara Regon pointedly explained that “The statute is 28 words, and no one knows what it means.” (“Piece of ex-Alaska Rep. Weyhrauch's case goes to Supreme Court”) And NACDL member Bill Mateja penned an Op-ed in the Dallas Morning News, “Supreme Court should void 'honest services'” in which he also discusses NACDL’s important coalition work: “To this end, Congress heard testimony last summer from strange bedfellows who have formed a coalition to bring ‘overcriminalization’ to lawmakers' attention, namely, the American Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union, Cato Institute, Constitution Project, Federalist Society, Heritage Foundation, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Washington Legal Foundation.”